Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune weather radar showed birds migrating away from our neighborhood. (Go here to see it.) Today’s early morning radar showed birds landing in Chicago:
The green "doughnuts" are night-migrating birds flying north near radar installations. The green disappears as the sun rises and the birds land for the day. Image from the Chicago Tribune's online weather page. (The radar shows a real storm system over northern Michigan.)
Notice how, after all the green disappears over land, there is still green over Lake Michigan. That’s because birds who find themselves migrating over water at sunrise have no place to land. This next image shows what happens on the radar as these birds head for the closest shore:
Watch the green over Lake Michigan slowly disappear as birds migrating over water head for the closest land. This radar image ends an hour later than the one above -- the over-water migrants will be extra tired once they come to Earth.
So, our neighborhood should have some newly arrived migrants this morning, and parks and neighborhoods along the Lake Michigan shoreline should be packed with newly arrived birds. It will be interesting to read today’s online reports from places like Montrose Park in Chicago.
As always, we’ll let you know what we see and hear in our neighborhood.
Note added at 7:45 a.m. the same day: So far we have heard no warblers singing in our yard. We did just hear a Gray Catbird singing one or two backyards to the south — they had been gone from our neighborhood for several days.
Note added at 9:45 a.m. the same day: The day’s first report on Montrose birds has been posted on the Illinois birders e-mail list. It stated, “Montrose was pretty good this morning, finally. Obviously last night’s southwest winds did some good.” The report listed 21 species of warblers. (A report from yesterday listed 17 species.)
To learn more:
You can study bird migration using radar images from WeatherUnderground (the source of the Tribune’s images) and the National Weather Service radar website.
To learn more about using weather radar to track bird movements, try the Badbirdz – Reloaded blog, which includes a primer on using weather radar to track bird migration. For deeper explanations of bird migration and radar, try the New Jersey Audubon website.